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Friday, 19 September 2014

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Last minute advice from a veteran

OF the 550 teams taking part in this year’s Keswick to Barrow, the majority are understandably homegrown, but the walk’s renown attracts participants the length and breadth of the UK.

Not only is this a boon to the local economy but it also generates a great sense of camaraderie with many former Cumbrians returning to the area to complete the 40-mile walk.

Chief audiologist at Leeds General Infirmary, Russell Smith, is one of many former Barrovians returning home for the event.

For people like Russell, Keswick to Barrow is not just a phenomenal fundraiser, but an opportunity to reunite with acquaintances from across the country.

He’s meeting up with friends to compete as one of the BAE teams, called ALARP.

Returning for his twelfth event this year, the experienced runner and father-of-two, concedes it might be the last year he runs the course.

But having put the miles in during a hectic training schedule, he’s hoping for a good time.

He said: “I train from New Year, increasing the mileage every week and increasing the number of times I walk home from work. I don’t do any running about two weeks before the race to rest and prepare.”

For people inspired to try and run the course next year, Russell advises: “Start training as early as possible to build up your fitness and increase your runs in short measures week by week. Aim for at least a few long(ish) runs (20 to 25 miles) a couple of weeks before race day and give yourself a few weeks off. Rest for a few days prior to the race, eat loads of carbs and get a good night’s sleep the night before. Do not be tempted, like we used to, to have loads of ales the night before.”

Looking ahead to tomorrow’s event Russell says: “I enjoy chatting to the other runners and walkers en-route, however, obviously best is finishing at Hawcoat Park and applauding everyone else coming in with a beer in hand. Even better if it’s a warm day and there is a good crowd.”

This year Russell is raising money for the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society and the remainder will go to the Keswick to Barrow fund.

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